Lockyer, Institutions File Briefs Calling for Dismissal of Suits Blocking Proposition 71 Funds
Attorney General Bill Lockyer (D) on Wednesday filed a motion to dismiss court challenges that have kept the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine from issuing bonds to fund research grants through Proposition 71, a ballot measure to fund stem cell research that state voters approved in November 2004, the San Francisco Chronicle reports (Tansey, San Francisco Chronicle, 10/13).
A suit by People's Advocate and the National Tax Limitation Council alleges that Proposition 71 is unconstitutional because it allocates state funds to an agency not under the direct management or control of the state. Californians for Public Accountability and Ethical Science and the California Family Bioethics Council also filed suit, alleging that funding should be blocked because members of the Independent Citizens' Oversight Committee have conflicts of interest with institutions that could receive grants.
State officials said they cannot issue bonds under Proposition 71 until all legal challenges are settled (California Healthline, 8/5).
Lockyer said the lawsuits are "thwarting the will of voters" and added that none of the challenges is valid.
Lockyer said that CIRM and its members are subject to a variety of state controls, such as open meeting requirements, public records standards and state financial audits (San Francisco Chronicle, 10/13).
In addition, the Burnham Institute, Salk Institute, Stanford University and the University of Southern California on Wednesday filed a friend-of-the-court brief stating that the court challenges have no legal merit.
The brief stated that Proposition 71 does not violate the state constitution because it amended the state constitution when voters approved it. Supporters say it "guarantees that the science to be funded is sound because grants are determined through a merit-based process that involves review of applications by respected scientists" (Somers, San Diego Union-Tribune, 10/13).
A hearing on Lockyer's motion is set for Nov. 17 (San Francisco Chronicle, 10/13).